President Rodrigo Duterte has claimed that badmouthing Catholic bishops made him win in the 2016 presidential elections, as he took pride that he was the “first” politician who spoke against the Church.
In his speech Thursday night during the celebration of the 120-year presence of the Baptist Churches in the Philippines, President Duterte said attacking Church leaders is good to those who aspire for public office.
“When the results of the election came, I got seven six million over the next. And so, maybe it’s good to bullshit the bishops. It might make you win,” the President said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
Duterte said the Catholic bishops, who had criticized him in the beginning of his term, have gone silent for a reason he did not disclose.
“Take it from my experience, until now. But they have...I cannot tell you why but they are now ordered to...There’s an…I cannot—it’s supposed to be in confidential. Pero you’d notice they are no longer complaining,” Duterte said.
“Even if you say bullshit, they don’t respond anymore. That is how to win the war against the Catholic Church,” he added.
The President has repeatedly slapped criticisms and unfounded accusations against the Catholic Church since 2016.
Duterte also cursed at Pope Francis for the traffic jams in Metro Manila during the Pontiff’s visit to the mainly Catholic country in January 2015. He later apologized to the Pope.
Meanwhile, the President recognized the contributions of the Baptist Churches in the country, particularly with their efforts in maintaining lasting peace as well as giving the Filipino people sense of fulfillment and purpose in their fellowship.
He also expressed hope that their churches will remain vibrant, inclusive and relentless in serving the people, especially those who are in need.
“May your enthusiasm in proclaiming the Good News of salvation not only touch our people’s lives but also stir transformative change within them,” he said.
“As we journey on the dynamic path towards nation-building, I trust that you will continue to join us in praying for good leaders who will embody Christian values and ideals in governance,” Duterte added.